by C.M. Eaton
Michael and Bryn seek out help from Mrs. Morales.
Bryn placed a mug of fresh black coffee in front of Michael as he sat at the kitchen table, then took the seat across from him. She watched him take a long drink before speaking, “Are you okay?”
Michael sat the mug down on the table. “Yeah, I think so. I had a nightmare, that's all. I suppose with everything going on it's to be expected.”
“Does that happen often?” Bryn questioned in a concerned voice. When she saw his square jaw twitch slightly, she knew she already had her answer.
“Occasionally,” Michael said not truly wanting to answer the question. “Do you really think this neighbor of yours can really help? She might just be crazy.”
“I don't see what it would hurt to talk to her. We don't have a clue as to how to handle this by ourselves. Face it Michael, we are in over our heads.” Bryn understood Michael's concerns.
Michael sighed in defeat knowing Bryn was right. Nodding his head, “Okay, I guess we're doing this.”
Michael and Bryn stood before the cream-colored wood door of apartment 13. Michael raised an eyebrow as he gave Bryn a glance, “How ironic is that?” he said pointing at the number on Mrs. Morales apartment.
Bryn gave a slight smile and rang the doorbell. “Just give her a chance, okay?”
Michael shrugged as the door to apartment 13 opened and a short, plump woman of Latin descent was revealed. She appeared to be in her seventies. Her dark, waist length hair was streaked with gray.
“Hello, Mrs. Morales. I'm Bryn Walters from apartment 7, and this,” Bryn said gesturing to Michael, “is my friend Michael Matthews. We would like to talk to you for a few minutes if you aren't busy.”
Mrs. Morales narrowed her eyes on Michael as if she could see into his soul. Michael grew uncomfortable rather quickly under the stare of the old woman. “I think this was a mistake,” he said as he grabbed Bryn's arm pulling her back a couple of inches, ready to retreat.
“Los muertos come for you, no?” the old woman's voice creaked in an eerie tone as she peered at Michael. “La mujer, she come back for you.”
Michael, stunned by the old woman's knowledge, managed to whisper, “Yes.”
Mrs. Morales nodded. “Si, come in,” she said as she opened the door wider to welcome Michael and Bryn into her apartment. “Es muy frio outside. Going to snow again soon,” she said as she turned her eyes upward noting the gray clouded sky.
Bryn had to give Michael a slight shove into the apartment, no doubt Mrs. Morales had spooked him. Both Bryn and Michael let their eyes wander about expecting to see dead chickens and only God knows what else, but to their relief none were visible. The apartment looked quite normal, the layout mimicking Bryn's. The only sign Mrs. Morales was into the occult was a book shelf on the far wall of the living area. It was filled from top to bottom with sinister looking books, or at least that is how Michael perceived them.
The front door clicked shut and Mrs. Morales motioned toward the black leather couch, “Sit, sit.” Michael and Bryn did as instructed while Mrs. Morales took a seat in a matching chair a couple of feet away.
Michael sat upon the edge of the couch with his elbows resting on his knees, wringing his hands in a nervous manner. “How...how did you know?”
Mrs. Morals sat with her hands in her lap, ankles crossed, looking very proper. Michael noted that she could almost pass for a nice old grandmother, but her dark eyes told otherwise. There was something about them, something different.
“Mis ojos see many things. Tus ojos tell many things,” she creaked.
Michael creased his brows in confusion, “My eyes? I'm sorry, Mrs. Morales, I don't understand.”
The old woman gestured with her hands, “Tus ojos are window to el alma, the soul. La mujer, the woman, she bind herself to your soul.”
The ominous manner in which the old woman spoke put Michael on edge more than he was before. He felt Bryn's hand squeezing his own. He wasn't sure if he had grabbed her hand, or if she had taken his. Either way, they were both spooked and for good reason. He had already decided if her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she started chanting, he was taking Bryn and getting the hell out of Dodge.
“Lila is attached to Michael's soul? How is that even possible?” Bryn spoke for the first time since entering the apartment.
Mrs. Morales regarded Bryn's statement for a moment before speaking. “You,” she said beckoning Michael with a long yellowed nail, “come to me.”
Michael was hesitant, but positioned himself on his knees before the old woman. She reached down and took his hand in hers. Michael watched in terror as her eyes flickered from dark brown to completely white, as if her irises and pupils had disappeared. Michael jerked his hand away and skittered back from the old woman. Bryn bolted from the couch to Michael's side, wrapping her arms around him instinctively. They both jumped at the sound of Mrs. Morales voice.
“Ella es una bruja!” Mrs. Morales shouted as she bounded from the chair.
“What the hell does that mean?” Michael shouted back as he and Bryn rose from the floor on shaky legs.
“La mujer es una witch! Cannot help you, no one help you.” Mrs. Morales shuffled as fast as her aging body would allow and quickly opened the front door. “You leave now!”
“Please Mrs. Morales, we need your help. We don't know what to do!” Bryn pleaded with her.
“Cannot help you. Wrath of the witch will come to anyone who help you. Go, ahora!” Mrs. Morales all but pushed them out the door, slamming it behind them.
Michael and Bryn stood on the cement walkway outside of the apartment and stared at the closed door a moment and gathered their composure.
“What the hell was that?” he questioned Bryn.
“I don't know, let's go,” she said as she led him back toward her apartment.